Strapping on that respirator should be second nature to potters, sort of like buckling your seat belt when we get in the car... but many of us have some bad habits.
Last month a company that makes face masks contacted me, via e-mail, after coming across this photo on my blog. They make a less cumbersome mask and if they sent me one, would I review it? I would never say no to free stuff, especially if it could be useful! The company is called RZ Mask, and when I went to their website I saw motocross riders, hmmm... do they know I am a potter? I explored the site and realized that they are expanding their market to industries outside of motocross and ATV riders.
This is what their mask looks like:
It even comes with a zippered storage case.
Since getting the mask I have used it mostly for spraying glazes and once for mixing a bucket of glaze. I really like how it comes on and off easily. I still felt a little claustrophobic wearing it but it was much better than my old mask. The best thing was there wasn't a build up of condensation inside the mask (ick). I was a little concerned that it doesn't create as tight a seal as the Survivair, but I have to tell you that there have been more times when using my old mask, I would suddenly have fogged up glasses, which means I didn't have a tight seal anyway. I am constantly making adjustments with the old mask and it's a pain to put on and take off.
I will probably reach for this mask more quickly when deciding to do a little clean up around the studio. I will often times skip the mask because it's just a quick scooping up of some dry clay, and it's too much of a pain to put the bulky one on. I stupidly say I will hold my breath instead!
My old mask cost about $70 a few years back. The RZ mask is $29.95 and replacement filters are $6.95. They even have some cool designs to choose from! If you need to replace your mask or find you aren't wearing it as often as you should because of it's bulk, I recommend giving this one a try.
**If you are looking for more information about respirators in the pottery studio, here is a link to a Ceramics Daily article written by Jeff Zamek.